Working remotely has been a challenge for a lot of employees and companies. It's a big transition. One company decided to give each of its employees a printer to make scanning and printing important company documents easier. But that's not good enough for one of the worker's wives, and she reaches out to the boss with a list of ridiculous demands.
The CEO took to reddit to share the hilariously maddening email conversation with the wife.
My employees have been working remotely for about a year now, and like most businesses, we weren’t as prepared as we could have been.
I bought new laptops, docking stations and two monitors for everyone last year, but one thing I forgot was printers. Everyone said they had a printer, so I said I’d just reimburse for toner/ink. Problem solved.
Well, not really. Some had inkjets and those cartridges add up quickly. And when people had to scan and archive documents, people who didn’t have a scanner would have to trek into the office to do it. Not an impossible situation, just not a great one, and as work has picked up it became a growing headache.
Last week I decided that we’re going to let our office lease expire and go full-remote for the rest of 2021. I don’t think anyone wants to be trekking to my house to scan documents.
Dan (not his real name) on our team is really tech-savvy. He has a good multi-function laser printer that does scanning and faxing. It prints double-sided and at a pretty good speed and has WiFi support. Best of all, he’s really familiar with it, and he said he’d help anyone with setup. It’s what he told me to buy, and it works great.
Last Friday I told everyone I was buying these printers for their work-at-home. A number of people have kids who are remote-learning, so I said they could let their kids and spouses use it too. People seemed pretty pleased.
This weekend, I had the following MADDENING email exchange with a team member’s wife. Please note, there were other pleasantries exchanged in the email, so it reads a bit harsher than it actually was, but I am still surprised at the audacity of this woman.
This woman was so adept at dodging facts that she should consider running for office.
WifeBeggar: “Hi, this is WifeBeggar. I’m PoorHusband’s wife. I heard you were giving everyone printers and that you said it was OK for our kids to use it for school work.”
Me: “Hi WifeBeggar, yes. It supports WiFi, so anyone in the house can use it. I don’t know much about setup, but one of our guys Dan, is really tech-savvy and volunteered to help anyone and their family with setup. I hope it helps!”
WifeBeggar: “Would it be possible to get a color printer?”
Me: “It’s easier if everyone has the same model. Dan is really familiar with this model. Plus it makes it easier for tracking, accounting and supplies. So this is the best fit.”
WifeBeggar: “I just found (other model) for the same money. It wouldn’t cost you more. Could we get that one instead?”
Me: “In the long run it does. Color cartridges cost more money. Plus that one is slower and doesn’t support scanning.”
WifeBeggar: “The kids will mind if it’s slower. And they don’t need to scan anything for school.”
Me: “The primary purpose of this printer is for PoorHusband’s work. The speed and scanning are most important for him.”
WifeBeggar: “He doesn’t scan anything. Our current printer doesn’t scan at all.”
Me: “I know. He has to drive in to the office to do it. This will save him time, plus we’re not going to have an office after June.”
WifeBeggar: “He won’t mind. And I’ve overheard you in WebEx meetings talking about the danger of one-size-fits-all thinking. Isn’t that what this is?”
Finally I lost my patience. I was done negotiating with a beggar.
Me: “WifeBeggar, one of these printers will be arriving there today or tomorrow. That printer is RandoBoomerCo property for the purpose of PoorHusband to do his job. Within reason, your kids can use it for school work. Please have your husband get in touch with Dan if he needs assistance.”
WifeBeggar: “Oh, I thought you were buying it for us to keep. Nevermind then”
First, how would this behavior have been OK if it were a gift? Second, are that many employers giving away printers?
I did get an email from the husband later, apologizing. Let’s hope his kids take after him.